The Internal Revenue Service unveiled a Simple Notice initiative Tuesday to review, redesign and deploy hundreds of its notices, starting with the most common notices that individual taxpayers receive.
The initiative is part of the IRS’s ongoing modernization efforts, which received a multibillion-dollar funding boost under the Inflation Reduction Act, and builds on the
Over the past year, the IRS already redesigned 31 notices so they would be ready in time for the 2024 tax filing season. These include notices to taxpayers who served in combat zones who may be eligible for tax deferment, notices that remind a taxpayer that they may have unfiled returns, and notices that remind a taxpayer about their balance due and where they can go for help. The IRS sent approximately 20 million of these notices in 2022, out of the 170 million it usually sends out each year.
For next tax season, in 2025, the IRS will focus on reviewing, redesigning and deploying up to 200 notices that comprise approximately 90% of the total volume of tax notices sent to individual taxpayers, which amount to about 150 million notices sent in 2022. They include notices to propose adjustments to a taxpayer’s income, payments, credits, and/or deductions, notices to correct mistakes on a taxpayer’s tax return, and notices to remind a taxpayer of taxes owed.
The agency is consulting with both taxpayers and the tax pro community on how the notices should be redesigned.
“Simplifying and clarifying these letters will make it easier for taxpayers to understand the tax issues involved,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in a statement. “This will help reduce questions and save headaches for taxpayers, the tax professional community as well as the IRS. Improving these letters is also critical to our internal operations at the IRS, and an important part of our transformation efforts. Clearer letters can create a ripple effect, reducing taxpayer phone calls and visits and freeing up IRS staff to help others.”
For filing season 2026 and after that, the IRS plans to review, redesign and deploy notices it sends to businesses taxpayers, along with less common notices it mails to individual taxpayers The IRS mails over 40 million notices to business taxpayers every year.
The agency has been working to make it easier for taxpayers to respond to notices online without having to call in, and it believes plain-language notices will help achieve that goal.
The IRS recently did a pilot test, sending redesigned versions of Notice 5071C to a group of taxpayers asking them to verify their identity and tax return online or over the phone to prevent fraudulent tax returns. The agency shortened the 5071C notice from seven pages to two pages and increased the notice’s readability by updating the font and adding visual features such as headers, icons and step-by-step instructions.:
The service also clarified the instructions on the notice and added a QR code directing taxpayers to the IRS.gov page where they can respond to the notice online, as opposed to over the phone.
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